Forest Student Successfully Authors Community Grant

Gage StermenskySince 2010, Forest student Gage Stermensky has been on the NAACP's Health Standing Committee.  Through his involvement on the committee, the opportunity presented itself for Stermensky to author and submit a grant proposal to the NAACP's national office.

The grant titled "Springfield NAACP H.E.L.P." is targeted at reducing heart disease, diabetes, and obesity in Greene County's African American community.  The goal of the grant was to organize three training days for the targeted audience of 100 local youth and 300 of their family members and significant others.

"Through this program, we hope to make a difference and help save lives by teaching health awareness behaviors related to purchasing and preparing healthy meals, increasing physical activity, and increasing community awareness of risk factors," said Stermensky.

Partnerships of the grant project include the Springfield NAACP, the American Heart Association, and the Southwest Missouri Minority Health Alliance.

"We have designed an efficient community engagement plan to create the most possible reach with limited cost through partnerships with these community agencies," said Stermensky.

Each one of those partnerships will bring different things to the table.  The Southwest Missouri Minority Health Alliance will recruit participation into the H.E.L.P. luncheons and educational days at the Bartley-DeCatur Neighborhood Center.  The American Heart Association agreed to provide educational pamphlets, handouts, and other resources on "Controlling Your Risk Factors" and "Power to End Stroke."  The Springfield NAACP will provide social media and website services to disseminate information about the program.

The Project H.E.L.P. grant is just one of seven given out across the United States.

Stermensky is a third year student in Forest's MACL en route to the Psy.D. program.